Record Review: Greensky Bluegrass

by | Nov 15, 2011 | Folk & Singer/Songwriter, Reviews

Greensky Bluegrass
Kalamazoo, MI

“Where songwriting and bluegrass come together”

The studio work of Greensky Bluegrass is far more laid back than their live sound. Their latest release, Handguns, rambles to a slow start. An abundance of the album sits downtempo, creating jam grass, essentially, that is neither progressive nor normal. Steadied by its pace and the added texture of a unique voice, Greensky pulls their sound poetically over the bluegrass brand.

Handguns – Handguns EP by Greensky Bluegrass

Part of the charm of Handguns is that the analog equipment used to record the album, including the console and the reel-to-reel tape machine, is the same equipment that laid the tape for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. The sound is aged. The record vibrates. “Bring Out Your Dead” is sung over a steady instrumental backdrop, and the words sound as though they’ve been filtered through a tin can.

Digressive monotone vocals and coarsely knitted harmonies feather Handguns’ edges like well-loved jeans. Curious, thoughtful songwriting peppers the album with quaint little surprises (like “Jaywalking,” a song about getting busted by the police).

These moments isolate the record from other bluegrass projects. Replete with multiple horn sections, Handguns sets Greensky Bluegrass apart, and with further innovation a band like this could very well lead the next generation of bluegrass. (Big Blue Zoo Records)

Produced by Greensky Bluegrass

Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by Glenn Brown at GBP Studios in East Lansing, MI